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Beethe receives local art scholarship

Friday, September 7, 2007  
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By Alison Roberts

Jessica Beethe, Oklahoma Christian University senior, received the first scholarship ever granted by Oklahoma’s “The Girlie Show” this June. Celebrating its fourth year, The Girlie Show is an annual art show created specifically to “promote and encourage talented Oklahoma female artists.”

Beethe, a graphic design major, was chosen among six finalists to receive a $1000 award and given the opportunity to showcase her work in Blue 7, a local clothing store. The gallery opening held in early August was another first for Beethe. 

“The Blue 7 exhibit was my first solo show and the first major show I’d been in,” Beethe said. “It was a little nerve-racking.”

Despite her anticipation, Beethe considers the show a success. She sold some of her work and made many new friends in the Oklahoma City art community.

Beethe first heard about the scholarship contest last October during The Girlie Show, but nearly passed up the opportunity to enter the contest because of a question regarding qualifications. Originally from Houston, she did not know if she would be considered an Oklahoma artist.

“I was not a legitimate resident of Oklahoma, so I didn’t think much about it,” Beethe said.

In February she was given a new application form by her painting professor, David Crismon. Beethe decided to verify the residency requirements and was surprised to find out that she was considered an Oklahoma artist.

“This is a good chance [for Jessica] to establish herself in public,” Crismon said.

After filing an application form and sending in samples of her work, Beethe was notified that she qualified as a finalist. She met with judges for a face-to-face interview. The judges asked her about her art, school, career plans and personal beliefs. About two months later, a time when Beethe said she had almost forgotten about the application, she received a telephone call notifying her that she had been chosen.

“My phone went off at about 11 AM,” Beethe said. “The lady on the other end told me I’d won, and I didn’t go back to sleep.”

To prepare for her opening, Beethe created 25 new pieces, a feat that surprised the artist.

“I don’t work very fast, and my inspiration is slow in coming and quick at going,” Beethe said. “I was rather worried that I wouldn’t have enough pieces to fill the space.”

Beethe has been drawing since she was a child, and the choice for her to pursue an art education was a natural one. Beethe said she is drawn to the “meditative qualities” she finds when creating works.

“Beauty, thought, ‘right and wrong,’ creativity, inspiration, and ‘self’ all come under heated scrutiny when an artist is trying to figure out what he or she does,” Beethe said.

Her artistic influences vary from Japanese animation, to the Art Nouveau Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to Tim Burton and Jim Henson. Beethe does not feel that her style can be narrowed down to one particular genre.

“I draw what I see inside my head,” Beethe said.

Though she will not graduate until April, Beethe is already making plans for her future career. In January, Beethe joined fellow Oklahoma Christian students, Keegan O’Keefe and Jacob Berken, and University of Central Oklahoma student, Paul Wilkes, in creating a multi-talented design company known as Red House Studios.

“Waiting until your certificate is in your hand, and you are out the door before starting your plans is a waste of resources, time, money, and energy,” Beethe said. “Experience is the best teacher.”

Beethe is grateful for the experience this award has allowed her to express herself through her art and urges others to pursue their passion just as whole-heartedly.

“Get up, get out and go do something in your line of work,” Beethe said. “Surprise yourself with what you can do.”


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